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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Mycota associated to native Hevea spp. in the Brazilian Amazon region

PI: Aristóteles Góes-Neto (Centro de Excelência em Bioinformática, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz--Fiocruz)
U.S. Partner: Priscila Chaverri (University of Maryland, College Park)
Project Dates: August 2013 to May 2016
2-503 Plants
This project expects to characterize the mycota associated with the socially important and economically valuable rubber trees in the Brazilian Amazon region. The project will focus on characterizing endophytic and saprophytic fungi that naturally occur in Brazil and compare to fungal diversity in another region of Amazon basin, the Peruvian Amazon. The idea is to corroborate the hypothesis that suggests that fungal endophytes have coevolved with their host plants to protect them from natural enemies.
The endophytic fungi associated with native rubber trees occurring in the Brazilian Amazon can be utilized in biological control of Microcyclus ulei, the agent of South American leaf blight, which is the scourge of rubber trees. This project can add more aggregated value to this important tree of the Amazonian forests, reinforcing the need to avoid the potential loss of useful biodiversity due to deforestation and expansion of agricultural and livestock breeding frontiers in the Brazilian Amazon region.
Summary of Recent Activities
The main activities carried out by this project team during the last quarter of 2015 involved the sequencing and molecular identification of fungal strains from the leaves and sapwood of rubber tree individuals of the Caxiuanã National Forest. As of January 2016, a total of 55 percent of all the endophytic fungi isolates from Caxiuanã have been were successfully sequenced and identified. The team’s main challenge now is to speed up the sequencing and molecular identification to finish all these activities. In the coming months, they will sequence and identify the remaining strains and complete all the statistical and ecological analyses of their two study areas (Anavilhanas National Park and Caxiuanã National Forest). The PI Dr. Góes-Neto also plans an exchange visit to the University of Maryland - College Park to discuss the results his U.S. partner and present seminars on his work.

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